African-American artist (or artists) will be introduced regularly to students on a rotational-basis. Students will be inundated and immersed in African-American arts and culture using our unique, one-of-a-kind, multi-faceted approach.
Learn more about our lessons below
Our First Meeting
An African-American artist would be first introduced using hardcover and paperback books for children’s literature, juvenile audiences, and lesson plans for older students. The first few meetings we’ll introduce African-American artists, such as:
- Jacob Lawrence
- Mary Lee Bendolph & Allie Pettway (Gee’s Bend Artists & Quiltmakers)
- Benny Andrews
- Elizabeth Catlett
(Other artists will be added rotationally: Richard Mayhew, Jerry Pinkney, Michael B. Platt, Winfred Rembert, Faith Ringgold, Henry Ossawa Tanner, Charles Wilbert White, etc.)
Several books will be shared for Grades K-12 [Kindergarteners to 5th graders, middle-schoolers (6th-8th graders), and high-schoolers (9th-12th)]. Students are encouraged to read aloud along with the leaders of the program. Below are examples of the broad texts used:
- Jake Makes a World: Jacob Lawrence, a Young Artist in Harlem by Sharifa Rhodes-Pitts, illustrated by Christopher Myers
- Belle, the Last Mule at Gee’s Bend by Calvin Alexander Ramsey and Bettye Stroud, illustrated by John Holyfield
- Draw What You See: The Life and Art of Benny Andrews by Kathleen Benson
- Elizabeth Catlett: An American Artist in Mexico by Melanie Anne Herzog
Study guides, lesson plans, and other handouts are also used to fully-engage students using a variety of written materials along with books and texts. Literacy is important in this program, which will also improve their reading and vocabulary skills.
Our Second Meeting
An award-winning video documentary and/or interview on DVD of the featured African-American artist will be shown. (Most videos are approximately 28 minutes for younger students and 60 minutes for older students.
For example, The Quilts of Gee’s Bend runs 28 minutes. The Quiltmakers of Gee’s Bend runs 60 minutes. The latter is a highly-acclaimed program that has aired on PBS stations around the U.S.)
- Jacob Lawrence: The Glory of Expression (An Award-winning documentary.)
- The Quilts of Gee’s Bend (This is an Emmy-winning PBS film.)
- Benny Andrews: The Visible Man (An Award-winning documentary.)
- Elizabeth Catlett: Sculpting the Truth (An Award-winning documentary.)
Our Third Meeting
An actual, museum-quality artwork by the artist (on loan and donated as “in-kind” courtesy of The Artis Collection) will be “unveiled” in the classroom on an easel.
This leads the day’s discussion as the youths learn how to engage the artwork and artist. Particular elements (artist’s signature, date, medium, edition, title, chop mark or stamp, etc.) would be highlighted allowing closer inspection with magnifying glasses.
The exciting part is hearing from the students: What did you like about the artwork? What is the artist trying to convey? What “speaks” to you? What’s your reaction or response? Look at the artwork, its titled, date, and subject matter – describe what you’re seeing.
- Jacob Lawrence (1917-2000), Brotherhood for Peace, 1967.
(Color lithograph on Rives heavyweight paper, #206/300, frame 30.25” x 32.75”)
- Mary Lee Bendolph (b. 1935), Hope, 2010.
(Aquatint / etching, #87/100, framed 22.25” x 24”)
- Benny Andrews (1930-2006), Dreamer, 1976.
(Etching, #32/50, unframed 20” x 26”)
- Elizabeth Catlett (1915-2012), Black Is Beautiful, 1968.
(Lithograph, #4/11, E/E Inscribed, framed, 14” x 17”)
Our Fourth Meeting
On the fourth meeting, students will be led in a creative drawing assignment taught by artist, business owner, graphic designer, Mr. Brad Dean. (He currently teaches at an elementary school in Lapeer on Wednesdays and homeschool students.)
Mr. Dean will inform the students about papers, mediums, materials, etc. More importantly, he will engage the youth in creating their own unique picture or mimicking the artworks shown in class. Students are also encouraged to write short papers and share via class discussions what they learned about the African-American artist(s) and artwork(s) based on what was taught from the books, videos, live artworks, and their artistic/creative expression drawing, painting assignments.
After the fourth meeting, a new artist will be introduced for the next four meetings. About four to five artists will be introduced during the summer and about 20 during a full school-year.
Flexibility allows us to customize programs for wide ranges of youths covering the K-12 spectrum as well as offer during or after-school programming. Our new summer program is accelerated introducing a new artist each day (instead of weekly or monthly).
Full, school-year programming is optimal covering a broader gamut of artists, artist experiences, personalities, and styles; artworks; historic periods (i.e., Civil Rights Movement, The Great Migration, and Harlem Renaissance), mediums, and more.
Here’s several Program Benefits of Art Education Outreach:
- Exposes children of all races to the rich genre of African-American fine art at an early age.
- They’ll learn African-American and American history simultaneously. They’ll be more interested to visit an art exhibit, gallery, and/or museum.
- Program promotes African-American arts and culture.
- Offers beauty in contrast to blight.
- Improves race relations and teaches respect for others.
- Enhances confidence, pride, and self-esteem in children, especially people of color.
- Students are engaged using different learning styles.
We’re honored to assist area schools and students strengthening our local community and future generations of children! Thanks for your assistance, consideration, support, and time!
Anthony & Davida Artis
Anthony earned undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Michigan – Flint, with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree (major: Accounting, minor: Business) and Master of Arts in English Language and Literature (concentrations: Creative Writing and Multicultural Literature), respectively. He is also the lead Pastor at Dedicated Believers Ministries in Burton, Michigan.
Davida graduated from Fisk University and was listed in Who’s Who Among Students during her final semester. She graduated earning a Bachelor of Science degree (major: Psychology). She also attended Eastern Michigan University for a year pursuing a Master of Social Work degree (concentration: Guidance and Counseling). Davida also serves as the Church Administrator, Assistant Treasurer, and oversees the Devotion and Worship Departments of Dedicated Believers Ministries in Burton, Michigan.
Community Foundation of Greater Flint (Flint, MI), James A. Welch Foundation (Flint, MI), and Puffin Foundation West, Ltd. (Columbus, OH); Crim Fitness Foundation, First Book, Freeman Elementary School, Good360, Jo-Ann Stores, Mott Community College (Southern Lakes Branch Center), and The Anthony and Davida Artis Collection of African-American Fine Art.